London’s KK Outlet is set to present Punchlines, a new series of work by UK-based American painter, Nathan James. Based on the idea of subverting modern life’s most aspirational images and using them to take a darkly humorous look at contemporary life, James’ latest works are painted in oil onto canvas or linen, taking images of Americana, advertising, pin-ups, Hollywood and traditional beauty and injecting them with his own feelings towards the characters and the scenes they inhabit.

In Punchlines, the original intent of the source material is undercut by darker elements which at first seem superficially funny, but leave the viewer with a bleak, lingering aftertaste. Archetypal beauty has turned sour and perfection is replaced by a warped cartoon aesthetic. James’ work draws influence from both the failed industrial background of his childhood in Ontario and the fantastical world of cartoons and characters he grew up immersed in.

Punchlines runs 4 – 26 October, 2013 at KK Outlet.